Alleged 'Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker taken in for interview
Just after midnight Saturday morning, authorities descended on the Cerritos home of the man believed to be the filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim movie that has sparked protests and rioting in the Muslim world.
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies escorted a man believed to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula to an awaiting car. The man declined to answer questions on his way out and wore a hat and a scarf over his face. He kept his hands in the pockets of a winter coat.
Sheriff's officials could not be reached by The Times, but department spokesman Steve Whitmore told KNBC News that deputies assisting the federal probation department took Nakoula to the sheriff's substation in Cerritos for interviewing.
[Updated at 1:40 a.m. July 15, 2012: Whitmore told The Times that Nakoula was taken in for a voluntary interview with probation officials and has not been arrested or detained.]
Authorities waited until most media had left for the day to take Nakoula in.
Earlier Friday, sheriff’s deputies had to escort attorneys through a scrum of news cameras into Nakoula’s home. When the man was taken away early Saturday, authorities had to dodge only a lone photographer for The Times and a few lingering reporters.
Nakoula has told the Associated Press that he was a logistics manager on the "Innocence of Muslims" movie, not the director. He told a Coptic Christian bishop on Thursday that he had no role in it, the clergyman told The Times.
Nakoula is believed to use the alias Sam Bacile, which was the name a caller who took credit for the film gave to the AP and the Wall Street Journal.
On Friday, U.S. courts spokeswoman Karen Redmond said the Office of Probation in the Central District of California was reviewing whether Nakoula, who has been convicted on bank fraud charges, violated terms of his probation in relation to the video and its uploading onto the Internet.
He had been ordered not to own or use devices with access to the Internet without approval from his probation officer -– and any approved computers were to be used for work only. "Defendant shall not access a computer for any other purpose," the terms read.
Restrictions were also placed on him enlisting others to get on the Internet for him.
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-- Robert Faturechi and Allen J. Schaben
Photo: L.A. County Sheriff's deputies take a man hiding behind a scarf, hat and winter coat, believed to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, in for an interview early Saturday. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Time